Renault aiming to overhaul Mercedes
Date published : 12 Apr 2010 - 17:26:55
Renault believes it can move ahead of Mercedes as the fourth-fastest team on the grid in the forthcoming races following its encouraging start to the season.The Enstone-based squad has finished second and fourth at the last two grands prix and while these results have been aided by wet conditions in the race and qualifying in Australia and Malaysia respectively, its R30 has also shown encouraging race pace in the dry. Such promising form has now led the former world champion team to set its sights of breaking into the top quartet of teams with the slowest of the big four' squads at present, Mercedes, its first target.Renault's technical director James Allison reckons the R30 is already on a par with its rival's W01 over the longer distances and is hopeful further updates to the car for China will bring it closer to Mercedes in qualifying.I think we can because at the moment they're only just ahead of us on qualifying pace, whereas we seemed to have the edge on race pace in Malaysia, he said when asked if Renault could overtake Mercedes on pace in the forthcoming weeks.We will have more updates in China, including a new floor and an alternative front wing. Although this might not be enough to get ahead of Mercedes in qualifying trim, it should move us closer to their tail. And if we can jump ahead of them at the start of a race, I'm confident we have the pace to stay ahead.Since winning the last of its world championship titles in 2006, Renault has consistently begun recent campaigns lagging some way behind the front-running pace with it only having been able to make a significant breakthrough in performance in 2008.But with its R30 looking more competitive this time around, Allison says the team plans an aggressive development push and reveals that the aerodynamic development of the car is already at least double that of last year's disappointing model.We have made no secret of our intention to develop our car aggressively during 2010, he said.Aggressive development means having effective ideas and getting them to the track as fast as possible. Our current rate of aerodynamic development is at an all-time high; it's at least double that of last year. The factory is also pulling out all the stops to get our ideas to the car in around half the time compared with last year.Renault has already said that getting its tyres up to temperature in the expected cooler conditions of Shanghai will be one of its main challenges this weekend, but Allison added that the further car upgrades should mean it can target its first two-car points finish of 2010.Kubica, meanwhile, believes Renault can be proud of the results it has achieved so far however stresses that as while as pushing hard in order to catch up with the top teams, it must remain wary of the competition posed by competitive midfield rivals behind. Obviously Bahrain was a big disappointment but it was good to make up the lost ground in the last two races, the Pole said.We know that our car is still not the quickest, but we have made some good decisions in the races and I feel we really deserve the results we have achieved. I don't think there are any real surprises this year. Most of the teams are very close together in terms of performance with Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari as the top three teams. We are just behind them along with Mercedes, and then you have a close fight between Force India, Williams and Toro Rosso. So it's very tight and we need to keep pushing to get closer to the front and to maintain the advantage over the teams behind us.